9 investigates new credit card chips

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CHARLOTTE, N.C. - Many consumers have received new credit cards in the mail with a chip but don't have many places to use their new credit card. 

The new credit cards, the ones with the chips, are supposed to better protect you from identity theft.  Basically, you "dip" the chip, instead of swiping the magnetic strip, and that chip is supposed to make your personal information more secure.
 
But Action 9 found many businesses where you probably shop aren't accepting the cards with chips yet.  And, critics say, that defeats the purpose.
 
Action 9 asked people in the Eyewitness News newsroom to keep track of all the businesses in the Charlotte area recently where they couldn't use the chips and had to swipe the old way. 

Action 9 came up with this list: 

  • Bed Bath & Beyond 
  • Chick-fil-A
  • Costco
  • CVS
  • Dollar General
  • Dollar Tree
  • Food Lion
  • Harris Teeter
  • Hobby Lobby
  • Lowe's
  • McDonald's
  • Michael's
  • PetSmart
  • Publix
  • Ross
  • Subway
  • UPS Store
  • Vitamin Shoppe

Expect Switch Soon

So Action 9 asked many of these businesses what good it is to have chips; if you can't use them.  Several responded with similar responses.  Harris Teeter said it's trying to make the switch quickly and safely without negatively affecting customers' shopping experience. Bed Bath & Beyond said its goal is to transition by mid-year.

In the meantime, Matt Schulz, with CreditCards.com, said you just have to wait. 

"I know a lot of businesses were scared off by having to implement this stuff in the busy holiday shopping season," he said. 

He thinks they'll jump on it now.
 
And there's a lot of incentive for them to switch over.  Since Oct.1 credit card companies have been holding businesses responsible for fraud if they don't accept the chip cards.

How the new cards work
 
The cards are called EMV cards.

"EMV-- which stands for Europay, MasterCard and Visa is a global standard for cards equipped with computer chips and the technology used to authenticate chip-card transactions. In the wake of numerous large-scale data breaches and increasing rates of counterfeit card fraud, U.S. card issuers are migrating to this new technology to protect consumers and reduce the costs of fraud," CreditCards.com explains.  "For merchants and financial institutions, the switch to EMV means adding new in-store technology and internal processing systems, and complying with new liability rules. For consumers, it means activating new cards and learning new payment processes.  Most of all, it means greater protection against fraud."

Prevent ID theft
 
While EMV cards should be more secure, you should still be careful with your credit cards.  The North Carolina Attorney General's Office reminds people to:

  • Keep your card safe. Store your credit and debit cards in a secure location when you're not using them. Know where your card is at all times.
  • Destroy unused cards. If your bank or credit card company sends you a new EMV chip credit card, shred your old one and dispose of the pieces.
  • Guard your PIN. If your card gives you the option of using it with a personal identification number, make sure you memorize your PIN and keep it secret. Don't use familiar numbers like phone, address, birthday or Social Security numbers as your PIN.
  • Be cautious when shopping online. The process of paying online is the same regardless of whether or not your card contains an EMV chip. Continue to follow our tips for safe online shopping.
  •  Check your credit report regularly. Monitor your credit to spot irregular activity. Under federal law, every consumer is entitled to one free credit report per year from each of the three major credit bureaus.
  • Report suspicious activity immediately. If you notice an unfamiliar charge or payment on your credit or debit card accounts, report it to the bank that issued the card right away. If you spot an unfamiliar loan or line of credit on your credit report, you could be a victim of identity theft and need to act quickly to close the affected account, file a police report, and report it to the credit bureaus.
  • Watch out for chip card scams. The Federal Trade Commission issued a warning about phony emails from scammers who pose as representatives from a major credit card issuer. The emails ask consumers to confirm their order for a new EMV chip card by clicking on bad links or replying with personal information that could be used to commit identity theft.The A.G.'s office says, "Each year, thousands of North Carolinians are affected by scams related to credit and debit cards. In 2014, the Attorney General's Office received more than 1,100 consumer complaints about credit scams and identity theft."   
  • If you believe you have been a victim of scam, report it to the Consumer Protection Division at 1-877-5-NO-SCAM or file a complaint online.